Toronto will be overflowing with climate strikers on Friday, as thousands take to the city’s streets to march for climate justice.
Here are the details, including where the biggest strike will take place, how schools have responded, and which businesses are closing down.
Queen’s Park will be the biggest, busiest rally
Toronto’s biggest climate strike — billed as the “Global Climate Strike” by organizers on Facebook — will begin at 11 a.m. in the southern section of Queen’s Park.
The route for the Queen’s Park march is a three km loop of downtown, starting south on Bay Street, going west on Queen Street, and then boomeranging back up to Queen’s Park via University Avenue.
The strike features all sorts of speakers including Lindsay Beze Gray and Vanessa Gray from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Indigenous activist Cody Looking Horse, Mi’kmaq food justice advocate Carolynne Crawley, and a handful of others.
There’ll also be shows at the Queen’s Park rally; Jim Creeggan from the Barenaked Ladies is pencilled in to perform as well as the Syrian Refugee Choir, and numerous others.
Greta Thunberg, the teenager who started the “Fridays for Future” climate protests last year in her native Sweden, will be in Montreal on Friday.
Thunberg is coming from the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, where she delivered one of her most stirring speeches, castigating world leaders for their lax attitude toward global warming.
On Friday, she’ll be leading Montreal’s main climate strike — starting at the Sir Georges-Étienne Cartier monument on Parc Avenue — and then meet Montreal mayor, Valérie Plante.
Companies closing in solidarity
Lush Cosmetics North America will shutter its 50 Canadian shops Friday as well.
Finally, though based in Vermont, Burton — the snowboard and winterwear company — said that it will close its four Canadian stores to let workers take part in the various strikes.
Schools getting involved
The OCAD student union is hosting a walkout Friday morning, and two groups at the University of Toronto — Leap Chapter U of T and the Ontario Public Interest Research Group — are co-hosting one as well.
Both groups plan on meeting up with the Queen’s Park march at 11 a.m.
The Toronto District School Board, U of T and Ryerson University have all been lukewarm in their support of the climate strike — not cancelling classes, but not discouraging students from skipping either.
The TDSB said on Sep. 16 that, “as always, students under the age of 18 require parental permission to leave class. Any students who are not in attendance at school will be marked absent. As is the case with all absences where parental permission has been granted, the absence will be deemed ‘explained.’”
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TDSB also asked “schools to avoid scheduling tests and other assessments” on Friday, to better accommodate strikers.
Melanie Woodin, the Dean of U of T’s Faculty of Arts and Science, sent an email to students on Sunday, writing that she “supported” students’ participation, and that she has asked “instructors to provide flexibility for students who do not attend class on that day.”
Ryerson is also “strongly encouraging all faculty and contract lecturers to be flexible in accommodating Ryerson students who wish to participate in events on Friday,” though students are encouraged to chat with professors “in advance about making alternative arrangements to receive course content, or to make up missed tests, exams, or class assignments.”